A family legacy at Incirlik AB

Photo of two Turkish civilian translators

Emirhan Arabaci (left) and Sedat Arabaci (right), 39th Operations Squadron translators, stand together for a picture July 20, 2020, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Sedat and Emirhan are a father-son duo working side-by-side at the 39th OSS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Malissa Lott)

Photo of Turkish translator sitting down

Sedat Arabaci, 39th Operation Support Squadron, smiles for a photo July 23, 2020, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Arabaci has worked at Incirlik Air Base for 34 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Malissa Lott)


Incirlik Air Base has a long and colorful history dating back to it’s opening in 1955 and many Airmen have called Incirlik home during their assignment here.

Many things have changed in those 65 years and the people have come and gone but through the passing of time and faces, Incirlik has seen one constant during the many years.

Sedat Arabaci, 39th Operations Support Squadron translator, and his family have worked at Incirlik Air Base since the very beginning of Incirlik Air Base where Sedat’s father, Mehmet, worked as a translator at the base fire department – a job he got with the help of his cousins who worked there at the time.

Sedat was only 16 years old when his father retired in 1980 but his father kept pushing him to learn English so he could obtain a job on base.

“I wanted to work on base and do a similar job as my father, but couldn’t because of my age and I hadn’t served in the military yet,” Sedat said.

So he attended a private language school picking up English quickly because as he said, he really wanted to learn.

From there he joined the military after school and for 18 months served at the NATO headquarters in Izmir, Turkey. He worked as a body guard and translator for a major general during that time.

The major general wrote him a recommendation letter and in 1984, Sedat began working as a translator at Incirlik Air Base.

As his career grew, so did his family. Sedat began bring his son Emirhan onto base as early as six months old.

“It's not like visiting his office,” Emirhan said. “It's like our second home. So every time he would say let’s go to base, I would be excited to come.”

Emirhan went on to work at the base fire department like his grandfather before him and once the opportunity arose to transfer to work at the 39th OSS, where his father Sedat worked, he took it.

“We didn’t think about working together at first,” Emirhan said. “But then I applied for the job and got it. We didn’t plan it but it happened, that’s the amazing part.”

Sedat says he hopes to pass on his experiences to his son before he retires and wants to tell stories to his grandchildren about how their family has been part of Incirlik’s history these past 64 years.

He’s proud of his role within the team and how he contributes to keeping the mission going he said.

“I have so much enthusiasm for this job,” Sedat said. “I remember the first day of the job how happy I was and excited and I still feel the same way every day.”